Saturday, we loaded the bikes up and went down to the Cedar Fall Bike Trail in Waterloo. It was a beautiful day and we thought, it’s been above freezing for a few days, the trails will be clear. We were wrong. No, I didn’t get any pictures of that, however, we rode a mile, then turned around and headed back the trailhead. We followed the trail into town and we came across this:

This was under a bridge and I had to stop to snap a picture. It wasn’t the art work, though the moon is very well done. It was the message. First, you don’t normally see the positive message in graffiti, let alone graffiti under a bridge!


However, there was something about this that just struck me. Our country and my state have hit rock bottom between our Covid response, again both at the state and national level. We’ve hit rock bottom on the political level as well. The only way we have to look is up right now.

Our district has been face to face. We’ve had teachers and students in and out of quarantine and isolation since the beginning. We are teaching our online and face to face students, both at the same time. While we are doing well, the stress of teaching both types of learners in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve hit rock bottom a couple of different of times. The only way we have is to look up.

I’ve not seen my parents since October, my brother and his family since June, and my wife’s aunt and uncle since mid-September. My wife gets her second shot on Friday. I get mine two weeks after, then freedom (within reason of course). The only way to have is to look up.

So many of our situation feel like that “this is the end” time when, in fact, they are just those times where need to start finding our way back. And the first thing we do, look up.

Now, it’s not easy. In fact, this is one of the harder things in life to do. When you fail, the last thing you want to do is think about tomorrow, finding the bright spot in the midst of our sorrow and angst. But, imagine if we did just that, looked for the positive in our sorrow. If we could convince ourselves that this wasn’t the end, would we always look at things in such a negative fashion?


Ok, that could be a stretch, but we talk about failing forward and all that kind of stuff. What if, just for a moment, we listened to our own advice? Failing forward? Hey, I can do that! I can find that rose in the midst of the manure (thank you Gary Paulsen for that one!).

When you are down, just look up. Some wise words spray painted on the underside of that bridge! Now, the real challenge, putting those words to use. Can we as a country, as a state start looking forward? Many of us are, and it brings me joy seeing it. But, we aren’t out of the woods yet. Rock bottom threatens us again and again.

Be strong. Do the right thing. And keep pushing yourself to do better. I’m not sure who I’m bringing this to, maybe you, maybe me. But either way, we’ve got work to do.

So let’s go do it, together! 🙂